Outer Banks Beach Nourishment – More Beach to Love and Increasing Property Values

Buxton Frisco NC aerial of beach

Regardless of your opinion about beach nourishment, the Outer Banks has embarked on a large project to nourish the Dare County Beaches in 2017.  Beach nourishment is basically placing sand obtained from the ocean onto the eroding beach to buffer the effects of storms and continued erosion.  The scope of the project covers much of Dare County and should improve results compared to a piece by piece approach.

In 2011, Nags Head was the first town to spearhead a beach nourishment project within the town, which generated a lot of controversy.  Business owners (especially ones reliant on tourism) tend to support these projects for obvious reasons.  Younger or older residents who have grown up in Dare County tend to be against beach nourishment as a waste of money, since it is not a cure but a temporary fix.  Other folks, tend to support nourishment with reservations.

One extreme feels the beach nourishment projects are costly and unable to stop the natural migration to the west while the other side feels we must do something to preserve the beaches and our way of life.

Impact on Property Values

No one will argue that the conditions of our beaches are of primary importance to continued tourism for the area.  If the quality of the beach decreases, then the property values of oceanfront homes will also decrease.  If the beach is maintained then the property values will remain steady or also increase.  Property values have a direct impact on tax revenues and the economic viability of the Outer Banks.

The correlation with property values is not just limited to the oceanfront homes but, to some extent, applies to the entire Outer Banks.  A preliminary Study conducted to measure the economic benefits of beach nourishment cite, pre-nourishment “in Dare County, N.C., of 1997 and 1998 shows there is a positive effect on Outer Banks properties within 2,270 feet of the beach.  Previous studies showed that added value estimates range from $200 to $1,000 per household for an additional foot of beach width, depending on proximity.”

Another study, shows the gains in property values (in 1983 dollars) for Surfside Beach and Garden City, SC:

value of beach nourishment at different distance to beach

So, according to this study an oceanfront home may increase in value by $27k to over $41k; while homes ¾ mile from the beach also increased in value by over $12k in 1983 dollars.  The study cited the cumulative values for the homes at various distances contributed $63,779,417 with a benefit/cost ratio of 1.96.

If we adjust the 1983 dollars above for inflation, where $100 in 1983 is equivalent to $245.51 in 2017; it would suggest oceanfront homes would increase by up to $101,263 and the homes ¾ mile away would increase by $29,964 in 2017 dollars.  The cumulative increase would be $156,584,846. Furthermore, the economic benefits, added storm protection and other ripple effects extend beyond the local area to the region and the state.

The beach nourishment contract for Duck, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills was awarded to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company totaled $38,596,850.  Southern Shores portion was added to the project subsequently at a cost of $800k.  Weeks Marine has the contract for Buxton at a cost of $25 million.

The 2017 Summaries of Dare County Beach Nourishment Projects are shown below:

2017 Summary of Dare County Beach Nourishment Projects

Current Status of Beach Nourishment Projects

The updated map showing progress and work areas are included on the infographic for each town.  To view current status, click on the town below:


Southern Shores

Kitty Hawk

Kill Devil Hills


Video of Progress on Beach Nourishment

View the latest video on the project and stay up to date on beach closures as changes are frequently announced and the schedule can change expectantly due to conditions and equipment availability.


As the most recent Outer Banks MLS statistics show, The Outer Banks real estate market is heating up.  Activity from January to May has been very robust with no signs of slowing down.  OBXMLS last reports 473 units are under contract suggesting May and June sales will also be strong.

If you have considered buying a vacation home, second home or permanent home, now is the time to act.  Purchasing power will decrease once the anticipated mortgage rates increase.  Smart buyers and investors will lock in rates now before the increase. Beach nourishment should increase appreciation potential for those who act early.

Buy with Eillu and save more with our buyers rewards plan.

If you have considered selling your Outer Banks home, now may be the best time.  The lower inventory levels will allow your property to be seen with less competition.  The strong demand will sell your home with fewer days on the market.  Our 1.5% listing commission will save you thousands of dollars!

The rental market continues to be strong to provide income from the investment and enjoyment for the family for years to come. Beach nourishment in the Outer Banks will protect your real estate investment and ensure the Outer Banks continues to be named a top beach destination every year.  For more information on buying Outer Banks Real Estate, or selling Outer Banks Real Estate or to learn more about the Outer Banks in general, please check out our blog or Contact Us.

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PO Box 3009, Kitty Hawk, NC 27949
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Kitty Hawk, NC 27949
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